Charles Jordy has been in the construction business for more than 40 years, which is not an easy feat for an gay man in a very hetero, masculine environment.
Jordy Construction and Jordy/Carter Furnishing have made it their goal to provide spaces that meet the individual needs of every, single client. Their message thrives off of the moral code provided by Jordy’s father—be honest, be ethical, and treat people with respect.
Throughout his projects, such as adding additional support for the emergency room of the University of Colorado Hospital and a kitchen for Project Angel Heart, Jordy crafts vibrant places for all his clients. He aspires to expand his business nationally to mentor young entrepreneurs on business. Jordy’s businesses have transformed old buildings into functioning spaces for the unique needs of their customers.
For example, the Asian Pacific Development Center in Aurora was reconstructed into a community center, derived from an old school building. The center was built with the health of our planet in mind. It was given energy-efficient windows and disability access. Multiple nonprofits reside in the building. The facility includes mental health and behavioral health services. This is accompanied by a class for community-goers to learn English, as well as a variety of other services. Being a member of the LGBTQ community, Jordy has introduced other members to the construction world in order to achieve greater recognition and more clients. Many of their projects are supported by queer people across the state.
What is your connection to the queer community?
It goes back quite a ways. I got our business certified with the [Colorado LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce] about five or six years ago and got involved with them.
In doing that, I had the opportunity of working with a lot of companies that were interested in working with a diverse supplier. On a local level, we’ve had a real blessing in that we have been able to work with a couple of really great community members, first building the headquarters of Project Angel Heart and then, most recently, building the Colorado Health Offices.
My partner and I have been bread-and-butter members for many years of Project Angel Heart. They raised money and wanted to have a facility. Primarily, it was a kitchen for all the amazing food they serve to the community. Through a series of interviews, they selected Jordy Construction to be their general contractor. We were very happy to participate financially and in soliciting all our contractors and suppliers. It really was a great team effort. The building used to be a 50-year-old meat processing plant out at 50th and Washington.
Power to Health Network were also in search of headquarters. We interviewed for the job and let it be known we wanted to financially participate. The community got behind both of these projects.
What does power mean to you?
Power is not a word I use very much. Sometimes it can have a negative connotation to me: power for the sake of power. In its best sense, it would be a sense of inner power that you have within yourself to do good and to help people. I think strength is a better word.
With what you do, what inspires you?
The artistic aspect of building. I’ve always been fascinated by architecture and good design, historical design, maintaining design, and what design could bring to the whole experience, and the opportunity of working on well-designed projects, whether it’s going out to dinner or in the workplace.
The other thing is creating a space for people that really works for them and the functionality to succeed and prosper. Also, for nonprofits to do their work. In some ways, I think we can create an environment that really enhances the mission of our customers.
How has your company assisted the community?
When we organized Project Angel Heart, I had an idea of rounding up people who could maybe work on the project. Of course there are bidders bidding on a job, but my idea was a lot of these folks I work with probably had a limited access or knowledge to the community.
I thought, ‘Why don’t we open some eyes here?’ We did a series of coffees and happy hours. We’d invite these folks and let them explain who their clients were. I saw a lot of light bulbs go off. I just think they didn’t really know about this and who these people are. It was gratifying.
I’ve been in construction in Denver for 40 years, and our business has been there for 60 years this year. In my personal experiences early on, I was absolutely not out. In the field of construction, I remember jokes directed to gays and lesbians; in those days, they were crude on a lot of levels. As time went one, I thought, ‘This is who I am, and this is what we do, and if my customers have a problem with it, then they have a problem with it.’
What are your hopes for Denver and the community?
To bring out the young entrepreneurs. I remember when I first started out, and it’s not so easy. I’ve had the opportunity to meet with young folks in town who are starting their businesses. In a way, I mentor and help with my experience.
On the national level, I participate with the NGLCC (National LGBT Chamber of Commerce) leadership conference annually. I had the opportunity to meet with many companies that want to do business with diverse customers.
What do you think this will look like 10 years from now?
You hear soundbites of negativity now and then, but I believe the sentiment of the country is moving in the right direction. I think the young people are carrying the banner. I think that’s where a lot of the change comes, in equality and general respect for others. That’s where it’s going, and I’m pretty positive about it.
Is there a code of conduct for Charles Jordy?
I must say, so much of what I am is a result of my parents.
My dad and I had the opportunity to work together for a number of years before he retired. Money is great, and we want to be successful, but beyond that, you have to be honest and be ethical and treat people with respect. We try really hard to run our business based on that.
I hope these next few years I can continue to contribute a little bit more and really help some folks along the way.
Photo by Jeremiah Corder